The pressure to say yes

The pressure to say yes

Editorial Board

WeeklywordEach week, the Lasso Editorial Board will comment on an issue that is relevant to the students at George Mason High School. We strive to present a student-oriented opinion about topics big and small that matter to all of Mustang Nation.

Homecoming came and went this past weekend, and countless students breathed a sigh of relief at the conclusion of date drama. The question of who is asking who to the dance is always a big conversation in the halls, and an opinion heard surprisingly often is, “I hope I don’t get asked.”

Of course, it is always a viable option to say no if someone asks you, but then it’s awkward for both parties involved. Boys are almost always the ones asking, and girls often feel obligated to say yes, especially if there is a lot of effort put into the ask or if it is done in a public place. People seem to think that if a boy puts in the effort to make a girl a cute poster or buy her flowers to ask her, the only way to thank them is to say yes.

If someone wants to turn down a Homecoming proposal, no matter how nice or elaborate it is, saying “thanks for the thought, but no thanks” should be just as acceptable as saying yes. If someone does something nice for you, of course you want to thank them, but girls should not be expected to thank boys by agreeing to go with them.

It is also popular to do ask in a public area, and turning someone down in front of a crowd is almost unheard of. A public asking draws a lot of attention; friends flock in to see it, and everyone watching turns on their cameras, ready to post to Snapchat and Instagram. With an audience like that, it is understandable that girls take the easy and traditional route and just say yes. It is the best way to avoid any awkwardness that comes with a big group of people looking in on your personal life.

What is clear is that girls at Mason do not always feel comfortable saying no to boys who ask them to Homecoming. This could be due to the publicity, or because the girl does not want to look rude, but it is also an effect of more general ideas and societal expectations. For example, this would be a much smaller issue if it was not generally expected that boys ask girls, and girls would feel less pressured to say yes if there was not the idea that when a man asks nicely for something, a woman owes him something in return for kindness.

Mason cannot exactly take on every social norm in relationships and gender roles, but it should not be too hard to make giving girls a choice a little easier during Homecoming season. Avoiding big crowds and overly extravagant asks is an easy step to take. Asking her friends before you ask her is never a bad idea, that way you either know for sure she will say yes or you can spare everyone a very uncomfortable moment.

And most importantly, everyone needs to remember that “yes” should not be the immediate response– “no” is just as possible and should be just as respected.